12 January 2016

Marvel Anthology Presents #3 - "Cause And Effect, Part Two: The Cold Hard Truth"

Marvel Anthology Presents #3 - "Cause And Effect, Part Two: The Cold Hard Truth"

This story takes place 2 years ago before The Final Adventure(Spider-Verse time).

The fog moved slowly out and faded away.

The fog from Ben Reilly's head that is. He was in his own bed, but he had no recollection of how he got there. Geez, what happened? he thought as he sat up. "Peter?" he managed to call out with his scratchy throat. No answer. Ben cleared his throat and repeated, "Peter?" No answer. "I guess he went out or something." It was then his eyes fell upon a note on his clock.

Thanks for last night's webs. In case you don't remember, you passed out in mid-swing because of that blood transfusion you gave that lawyer. I brought you home and put you in bed. It's 7:00 now and I have to head back to Portland to be with MJ. Hope you clear the cobwebs pal. I'll talk to you later.

"How do ya like that? Shows up, saves my behind twice, and leaves. Of all the ungrateful..." Ben sighed and glanced at the clock. 11:00 AM. "Good thing I'm off today. I think I'll investigate that little earthquake that happened yesterday.* He then hopped out of bed, only to almost fall down from the head rush. "But first, I better eat something."

*Last issue-if you didn't know you better go read it now!-Dictator Kelen

An hour later, Spider-Man swung towards the Daily Grind, swinging from weblines and leaping from building to building. It's times like this that it's great being Spider-Man. No matter what worries you may have, you can always lose them for awhile by cavorting around in Spider underwear. He came in for a landing atop a nearby grocery store, then went into a one handed cartwheel which brought him to the wall across the street from the diner. The street had been cleaned up from the quake yesterday, but it was still un-drivable. Spidey watched the pedestrians for a few more seconds and then sprang into action. He leaped off of the wall towards a manhole cover, yanking it up as he passed over it. Then he slid into the darkened depths all while dropping the cover back into place. The landing wasn't as smooth however, as Spidey slipped on some sewage and landed sharply on his tailbone. "Ow!" he said rubbing his butt. "Good thing I don't drive a cab. But now..." he flicked on his spider-signal from his belt and scanned the area. "Let's see what I'm dealing with." Spider-Man walked deeper into the sewer as sounds of hissing became more audible. "Sounds like the Lizard's down here, I better be on my guard. But as he proceeded, the sound became louder than what the Lizard would've been able to manage. "That's water, but where's it coming from?" Spidey would've of seen it if a trick of light hadn't of happened, so he walked straight into a gushing pipe. "Geez! I know I didn't take a shower before I left but come on." he whined as he jumped back drenched. He refocused his light and finally picked up on the pipe. Then he noticed the other busted pipes that went down for what looked like a city block. "Busted pipes? It looks like a war took place down here." The Spider leaped onto the wall and studied the spot where the pipe had been split. "These burns look like they were done with beta power, and that alone would've been enough to level the street above, and by busting the pipes, that just sent even more pressure skyward. And now I'm back to square one!" Spider-Man kicked at the ground in frustration and was rewarded with another fall onto his tailbone. "I guess the least I can do is web up these pipes," He then opened the valves on his webshooters all the way and wrapped the pipes tightly, all in 15 minutes. "That should do it," Spidey said as he placed new cartridges into his shooters. "I guess all I can do is call the city about this and start my search all over again." He turned back towards the way he came when a smile came from underneath the mask. "But I can stop in on a certain Chief of Police." With a new sense of hope, Ben soon had resurfaced and began his trek to Police Headquarters.

It had been a long morning for Gary Dreslinski. He hadn't gotten home from the crime scene ordeal with the Spider-Men and that Collins kid until 3 AM. He hadn't slept because he thrashed in his bed when he did make it there, and was so distant at breakfast that his wife wanted him to see a doctor. As soon as he arrived at the precinct, he poured himself a cup of coffee and started back towards his office. As the usual rush of people demanding his time approached, Gary had other things on the mind. If I had of gotten away with those blood samples, I wouldn't be this nervous. I could have had it analyzed and would've had a bit of info into why my employer wants me to be a thorn in Spider-Man's side so bad. Stupid Scarlet Spider. I should've shot ‘em, yeah, that's what I could've done. He finally got to his office door and opened and slammed it, leaving the crowd on the other side. He turned and faced his desk. Shot both of ‘em, and then I could rid myself of the influence of N--"Spider-Man?!" He stood shocked to see Spidey hanging upside down above his desk.

"Hiya Tara Lapinski," Spidey said as he poked fun at Dreslinski's name. "We got to have a little talk." Dreslinski had regained his composure however and set his jaw.

"I'll give you 5 seconds to get out of my office. If not, you will be arrested..." his hand fell to his gun's handle. "...by whatever means necessary." He grinned slightly. But the grin was gone in an instant as Spider-Man shot a webline and snagged his weapon, tossing it out the open window.

"Nice try Gar, but how would you like it if I took Fast Eddie's advice and found evidence that you're on the wrong side of the law?"

"You wouldn't!"

"Hey if you had to smell that stool pigeons breath for the last 20 minutes, you'd be surprised by what you're willing to do. So why don't you come have a seat, we'll talk, I'll walk." Reluctantly, Gary agreed and made his way to his desk and took a seat.

"What can I do for you?" he asked as he sipped his coffee.

"What was that last night, that whole deal with taking my blood samples? I had your word and you still tried to cross me. Why?" Dreslinski sat very quiet. If I tell him the truth, I'm risking my neck. If I lie, then I'll have to continue to live this way. Under someone else's influence. No more!

"Spider-Man, I need your help. For a time now, I've come into the wrong crowd big time. The guy that's kind of like my boss, he's so untouchable I can't arrest him. But anyway, he came back into town about a year ago, and he contacted me. He wanted me to be a problem for you as much as possible. They wanted me to tell everyone that a new policy had been instated that vigilante's would not be tolerated. That's why you've had us on your back more than usual."

"Go on," Spidey said quietly.

"But anyway, when I saw you and your pal show up last night, I knew there was hope. Especially when you offered your blood. I was planning to learn your identity, to possibly find a way to stop being controlled. But as you know, that didn't go too well. My employer has always said he would kill me if I told anyone and I always understood that. But I felt I had to take a chance and tell you. I don't want to die Spider-Man. I want to know my family is safe. Can you help me?" Ben cleared his throat sharply and dropped to the floor.

"I'll do all that I can Chief. But who is your employer?"

"I-I-I can't say." The Spider nodded.

"Okay. I'll do my best Gary. He then shot a webline out the window and was gone. Hey! I didn't even get a chance to see my patented web on the chair gag play out...

"SPIDER-MAN!" Dreslinski hollered after the web slinger. He had tried to stand up to watch Spidey go, but that was kind of difficult with a chair stuck to his behind.

"Nevermind..." Ben chuckled to himself as he swung onward.

"All this work sure can make a Spider hungry," Ben thought as he swung over a Burger King. I think I'll head over to the Grind and grab a burger." He changed direction and shot a web eastward only to have his spider-sense go off like a bomb. "Yow!" Spider-Man yelled as he barely held onto his line. "What in the world..." he scanned the area quickly and soon picked up on screams nearby. "Maybe this is my beta powered baddie." he said with a hint of hope as he swung off in that direction. As he arrived above the cloud of dust that had been kicked up, he dropped down. Flipping expertly, he started to come in for a soft landing when a shot of electricity was obviously attracted to one of Spidey's webshooters and destroyed it. "Whoa!" he managed as he gripped his wrist. "Talk about a fatal attraction!" He hit the ground roughly and eeked out a roll to his feet. As the dust finally cleared he could see who had shot at him. He just didn't know who he was.

"Get down here Wallace!" the blue and white clad man screamed. "You can't keep hiding behind buildings, because I'll keep blowing them away." He readied his staff again for another discharge.

"Cardiac, don't kill me!" Wallace begged. "I haven't done anything wrong! Why do you insist on my death?" He scrambled up a fire escape. A smile crossed Cardiac's face.

"You didn't think about who you killed," he shot a blast that ripped through one side of the escape, leaving Wallace dangling from the other. "So why should I not think about yours? I'm only getting rid of the scum." He now stood under the hanging man.

"That's enough of that chum!" Spider-Man stated as he barreled shoulder first into Cardiac. "Leave him alone." And this guy's a threat? He didn't have to wait for an answer before another bolt of beta electricity shot at him, which he barely missed in his smugness.

"This does not concern you Spider-Man," Cardiac yelled as he shot off more blasts that sent Spidey stopping, dropping, and rolling. "This man's killed hundreds. And yet, you want to prevent his death?" Spidey shot a webline from his remaining shooter and tried to yank the staff away from his opponent, but Cardiac easily reeled him in. But Spidey was ready as he sent a vicious uppercut into the vigilante's jaw, sending him sprawling.

"Yes, I will try to prevent his death, and you have no proof that he's killed. As far as I'm concerned, you're the killer for destroying a city block yesterday morning!" Cardiac could only chuckle.

"That was purely coincidence bug. I was trying to nab this vermin when he ducked in a sewer. I should've had more sense than to use my staff down there, so yes I destroyed that block. But he's the real killer!" he announced as his roll helped him knock Spider-Man off of his feet. The fall left the Spider on his tender tailbone, and the pain left him unable to move. And for good measure, Cardiac slugged him in his jaw. Seeing Spider-Man was down, he went back to his prey that still hung helplessly. He charged his staff again and aimed it for Wallace's head. "Time to go into Arrest MacDonald..."

"FREEZE CARDIAC!" Lt. Stone of Code: Blue screamed as his and 5 other guns trained on the vigilante's head. Cardiac smiled.

"Can't ever leave me alone can you Stone? Always have to be in my business." He didn't budge. "I'm gonna count to five Stone," he continued. "And if ya boy don't fess up by then...well you know the rest."

"Over my dead body Cardiac!" Spider-Man shouted as he flipped over top of Code: Blue and right into the would be murderer. "No ones dying today." Cardiac stood up and noticed that his mesh skin had torn, a sign that it was time to retreat. He simply smashed his staff sharply into the ground, sending a jolt of electricity glancing by Wallace.

"Okay!" Wallace screamed. "I did it! I dumped toxic chemicals into that community's river. I killed all those people! I confess!" It was plain to all present that he had peed himself in fright.

"Get him down from there," Stone said as he and Blue lowered their weapons. Spider-Man was busy backing Cardiac into the wall.

"Look. I don't wanna fight. I just wanna go home and soak this tailbone of mine and having to beat you down would prevent that so let's say you turn yourself in?"

"As much as I hate preventing you from getting home to pamper," Cardiac raised his staff. "I have places to be Spider." And with that a robot bird swooped down and snared the staff, dragging Cardiac up and away.

"Aww come on!" Spidey said in frustration. He started up the wall to make his own escape when Stone stopped him.

"Hold on there Spider-Man, I got a few questions for you." Spidey stared momentarily, as if he was going to comply. Until he gave Stone a face full of web.

"Sorry guy, but sometimes you got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, and most definitely, know when to walk away." Then he was gone.

Stone pulled mightily at the web, but it was a no go. He sighed and started back out of alley when his radio went off...

"Calling all cars. There is an officer down. I repeat, an officer down. It is Chief Dreslinski and immediate attention is needed. I repeat, calling all cars...."

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